Zoë Brooks (born 1988) is a socially engaged artist from Adelaide working across Australia in strong collaboration with community and minority groups. She studied visual art at the University of South Australia majoring in painting, drawing and completing honours in sculpture (2014) and more recently studied feature documentary at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School, Sydney (2019). Working in local government Brooks’ practice began to shift with a focus on community arts and in 2016 saw a new direction after undertaking a mentorship with Melbourne artist Richard Lewer. Her fascination with religion and extremities in human behaviour became an obsession after she found out she was nearly subjected to a childhood exorcism. Learning her family became unwanted by the Catholic Church community due to her and her sister’s conception through IVF processes, drove Brooks to want to collaborate with people of faith to understand their beliefs.
Brooks’ practise explores the extremities of human behaviours grounded in belief systems and community-specific practices. Her work is made for both the converted and non-converted and is created through processes of integration and co-creation through residencies. Brooks is interested in creating conversations around the politics of faith, religion and spirituality that are beginning to redefine Australia’s multi-faithed national identity.
She has recently undertaken a series of residencies in women’s circles and Red Tents across Australia to further examine the recent rise in women’s spiritual healing, promised empowerment and Eastern cultural appropriated practices in Western society. Investigations into multi-faithed organisation ARRCC – Australia’s Religious Response to Climate Change and the global movement of religious outcry against Climate Catastrophe. Brooks is about to embark on a project working with church craft groups across Australia.